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A WORD ON HEADACHES

     There are many nutritional, mechanical and lifestyle causes of headaches. Treatment of headaches with chiropractic techniques has been anecdotally supported for many years. More recently, the causal relationship between headaches and cervical spine dysfunction has been advanced. Recent research suggests that the older theories of blood vessel dilation with migraines, and muscular contraction with tension-type headaches do not adequately explain how these headaches occur.

     A recent anatomic finding may further explain the relationship between the response to chiropractic manipulation and headaches. Where the upper neck connects to the skull there appears to be a connective tissue attachment between the rectus capitis posterior muscle and the posterior spinal dura (outer covering of the spinal cord). The increased dural tension due to upper neck spasm has been suggested as a cause of tension and cervicogenic-type headaches. This type of headache is the most common and quite easily treated with chiropractic care.

     Hormonal influences on serotonin levels may play a role in migraines in women. Migraines affect women more often than men (3 to 1 ratio). 60% of migraine attacks in women are associated with menstruation (due to hormone fluctuations), which affects serotonin levels. Generally too little serotonin is the primary cause. Dysfunction in the brainstem's perception of sensory input is a major element of migraine pain. This is why light and sound (sensory input) can be annoying to a patient suffering a migraine attack. Some foods especially those high in caffeine and tyramine can exacerbate this effect.

     Occasionally a vitamin or mineral deficiency (magnesium for example) can produce migraine-like symptoms. Proper diagnosis is a must. It is important to remember with all headaches, that the symptoms may sometimes resemble other medical conditions, and you should always consult a qualified chiropractor for diagnosis.

     To learn more about the latest research and treatments, attend our up and coming headache solution workshop, or call for a consultation to determine if we can help your headaches. Call for the dates of our next workshops. 

Dr. Gerald T. Andreoli, DC, DACBN 

Arlington Chiropractic Clinic, PC · 1702 W Campbell St · Arlington Hts, IL 60005

(847) 259-4493

References:

1. Boxtel A., Goudszaard P. Absolute and proportional resting EMG levels in chronic headache patients in relation to the state of the headache. Headache 1984;24-259

2. Moskowitz, MA., Neurogenic inflammation in the pathophysiology and treatment of migraine. Neurology1993;43(suppl 3):516-520

3. Rajiv J. Welch K,D'Andrea G. Serotonergic hypofunction in migraine: a synthesis of evidence based on platelet dense body dysfunction. Cephalgia 1989;9:293.

4. Souza TA. Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor Third Edition 2005;17:453-460

Our headaches and migraines patients visit us from Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect and Rolling Meadows in Cook County, IL.